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Society of Urologic Oncology honors Smith’s contributions

Apr. 4, 2019, 9:19 AM


by Craig Boerner

Joseph “Jay” Smith Jr., MD, professor of Urologic Surgery, has been awarded the 2019 Willet F. Whitmore Jr. Award and Lectureship from the Society of Urologic Oncology (SUO).

Joseph “Jay” Smith Jr., MD

The award and lectureship were established in 1993 as a tribute to Whitmore, a doctor who embodied the field of urologic oncology as a premier urologic surgeon and as a pioneer in the multidisciplinary aspects of urologic care.

Smith will receive the award at the SUO’s Spring meeting in May in Chicago.

“This award once again illustrates that Jay is really one of the giants of urology oncology. He played a critical role both in establishing the field as an independent subspecialty and founding the Society of Urologic Oncology,” said David Penson, MD, chair of the Department of Urology and the Paul V. Hamilton, MD, and Virginia E. Howd Professor of Urologic Oncology.

“Jay has trained generations of urologic oncologists across the country and the globe. This is such a fitting honor and I couldn’t be happier for him,” he said.

Whitmore’s contributions to urology include defining the specialty of urologic oncology. He was the first to establish a clinical fellowship in urologic oncology and, later, a year of research.

His interest and dedication to proper training in urologic oncology led to his election as first president of the Society of Urologic Oncology. Whitmore was the first Whitmore Lecturer in 1994. He died in 1995 from carcinoma of the prostate, a disease he devoted his life to treating.

SUO Secretary Jeff Holzbeierlein, MD, who nominated Smith for the award, said the Vanderbilt Health surgeon — who trained with Whitmore — “understands better than many the incredible impact Dr. Whitmore had on urologic oncology and perhaps has carried that tradition on better than anyone.”

“Jay Smith has been one of the exceptional leaders in urologic oncology for the last four decades. This includes excelling in clinical care and being an outstanding surgeon,” Holzbeierlein said.

“One of the most common descriptors of Dr. Smith is that of a fearless and adept surgeon who embraces challenges and constantly pushes the envelope. In doing so, Dr. Smith has been an outstanding example for countless students, residents, fellows and faculty. Most importantly, this has benefited thousands of patients in their battle against cancer,” he said.

It is the third major award from the SUO for Smith, who received the Huggins Medal, its highest honor, in 2015 for his lifetime contributions to the progress in treatment for patients with genitourinary neoplasms, which are tumors or cancer of the reproductive organs and the urinary system. He was also awarded the SUO Medal in 2006.

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